WINNIPEG — Manitoba's Opposition NDP is promising free birth control if it wins the provincial election in October.
The party says in a news release that under its plan, the provincial government would cover the full cost of dozens of commonly used birth-control methods, including oral contraceptives, copper and hormonal intrauterine devices, hormonal injections and the morning-after pill.
It says that Manitobans without health insurance, or with only partial coverage, can pay as much as $380 for an IUD and birth control pills can cost a person $240 a year.
The NDP notes that Manitoba Health already covers contraceptive procedures, such as vasectomies.
The governing British Columbia NDP announced funding in its budget last month to make it the first province in Canada to provide free birth control starting April 1.
The Manitoba NDP says the cost of implementing universal coverage of contraceptives is $11 million a year.
"Prescription contraception is a right, not a luxury. Money should never be a barrier to exercising your right to and control over your body and decisions about having children,” said Nahanni Fontaine, the party's spokesperson on the Status of Women.
“An NDP government would support gender-equality in health care.”
Earlier this month, the Alberta NDP Opposition said it would also make prescription contraception free to residents if the party is elected in the spring.
The Manitoba NDP's news release Sunday said marginalized and financially struggling communities are regularly without birth control coverage.
It also said many young Manitobans face barriers to accessing birth control, putting them at higher risk of unplanned pregnancy.
Manitoba's next set date election will be Oct. 3.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2023
The Canadian Press